Helping Students Prepare for Finals

a Photo-Calendar-page-turning-img-no-140044189-Aug-21-2013My students and I have about three weeks left together.  As always, the semester has flown by at a rapid pace.   Now, thanks to many storm days, we are engaged in a juggling act, trying to get the curriculum covered while making sure real learning happens in the process.  It’s tempting to rush through it all, but not the wisest thing to do.  I have to stop and remind myself that it is the skills they learn that are important; if I have to drop something, that’s ok, as long as I’m teaching them how to learn.

One question that always come up in the last few weeks of class is this: “When do we get a review?”  When students ask this, they usually want to know when I am going to go over all the stuff they have to “know” for the final assessment; in other words, “what do we have to go home and memorize?”   They want a handout with all of the information they need, so they can spend a few hours pouring over it, only to regurgitate and forget it immediately after the assessment is over.  It’s not my idea of real learning.

First of all, I like to give final assessments that ask them to demonstrate the skills they have learned throughout the semester, using the content as a vehicle to do so, not as the end in itself.  Because of this, my “reviews” ask them to focus on the skills I want them to  use; I also like to put the review process in their hands, not mine.  I want them to be active participants in the process, not passive ones.

Below, you can get copies of a process I use to get the students to think about the important content in their texts–it allows them to discover both what they know, and what they still need to learn:

exam review blog

exam review blog2



If you would like to see more ideas for an exam review that focuses on real learning, you can check out my Exam Review. It, as well as my Process-Based Final Assessment are available for half price, this weekend only.

Enjoy the last few weeks. Summer is coming!


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